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Comparison of Budget and Functional of Government Structures Exercise

The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) seeks to create an international standard for the dissemination of information on aid flows. This standard needs to be useful to different stakeholders in the aid process, including both donor countries and partner countries.

IATI currently uses the OECD DAC/CRS sector classification scheme as the basis for creating a standard for coding projects according to their economic sector. However, many acknowledge that significant work will need to be done to make these classifications relevant for recipient countries, in particular to align with their budget classification.

PLAID/Development Gateway have created a database of aid activity information that codes each activity using an expanded version of the DAC/CRS sector classifications, augmenting the original categories with sub-sector definitions of their own design. These additional classifications add granularity to the existing CRS classifications. While this augmented coding scheme might serve to make the CRS coding scheme more in line with the IATI vision, there have as yet been no tests to determine whether it can be effectively reconciled against either recipient country budgets (administrative) or COFOG as a global standard for functional structure of government. COFOG/GFS has had a significant impact on the structuring of country (particularly Anglophone) budgets, but the consistency of application of the COFOG system is as yet not clear.

This project will compare the original DAC/CRS sector codes, the PLAID/DG extension coding scheme and COFOG against a small but representative sample of recipient countries (Anglophone, francophone, federal, etc.) in order to determine whether it is possible to map the more granular sector codes to budget organisations. There will also be a comparison to the functional/programmatic structure where this is useful.

This study will attempt to expose some common ground between existing coding systems and recipient budget structures. It will then propose some options for achieving meaningful information on the purpose of aid flows for recipient countries. The scope does not extend to develop full reconciliation systems or to determining the fit of these structures to donor systems, but will explore options in which automatic translation could be made between parts of the CRS structure and these systems. It will likely be able to provide recommendations for future work relating to these areas.

Edward Hedger